Guitar World has dubbed Lamb of God “the most important contemporary metal band in the world” and hailed the group as the architects behind the “new wave of American heavy metal” and torchbearers of the heavy metal that Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer perfected in the 1980s. Revolver called them a “veritable institution, one of few acts in their festival-headlining tier of heavy music who’ve never once dropped a wet blanket on their fans.”
The Grammy-nominated band’s timeless songs “Laid to Rest,” “Redneck,” “Walk with Me in Hell and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” are anthems in the heavy metal songbook, “with gargantuan vocals born from both righteous anger and devotion and unrivaled riffs,” according to the press release for their upcoming Dallas show.
Following their 2020 No. 1 self-titled ninth studio album, their latest offering, Omens, was released in early October and dubbed by lead singer Randy Blythe as a “very pissed-off record.”
“It is extremely pissed-off,” Blythe says in the press release. “The world is crazy and keeps changing. Omens is a reaction to the state of the world around me. The last record was thematically driven; really, this one is just a response to the screwed-up world we live in.”
Lead guitarist Mark Morton calls it a record that’s designed for fans to hear from start to finish with a diverse collection of songs that, he tells the Observer, sound “a little loose and free, which describes how we feel internally.”
Lamb of God is bringing their extremely pissed-off tour with Killswitch Engage to Irving on Oct. 20 in support of the new album. It’s the last leg of a tour that began in July and one that promises to offer fans a pulverizing Thursday night of metal at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving.
“It’s been everything and all the things,” Morton says of the Omens tour. “The shows are incredible.”
For the new album, Lamb of God tapped longtime producer Josh Wilbur, who’s worked with Avenged Sevenfold, Korn and Megadeth, to carve Omens into a “sonic stone” after they began creating music for the album during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns in 2020.
Morton and guitarist Willie Adler wanted to avoid creating an unhinged “Lamb of God Part II” album when they sat down to write the music for Omens, so they changed their creative process. So after they built the riffs together, Morton and Adler assembled with the rest of the band at their home base in Richmond, Virginia, to add Blythe’s lyrics, to which Morton also contributes, and bassist John Campbell’s and drummer Art Cruz’s unstoppable rhythms.
They recorded the tracking at Hollywood’s historic Henson Recording Studios, founded by Charlie Chaplin in 1917, and the recording site of albums by The Doors, Guns N’ Roses and Pink Floyd. Lamb of God tracked a majority of Omens live in the studio.
“Particularly in our genre, albums recorded are very separated; you record each piece and it’s put together or assembled by an engineer and by a producer,” Morton points out. “We went old school and recorded the bones of the album together.”
Blythe claims there was an “undeniable energy” with going old school, which allowed him to “feel that energy more than when no one is present.”
Cruz called recording the album a beautiful experience in the press release and said members poured in a lot of emotion and came together as a band. Campbell said it blew his mind. Adler said they were trying to capture those moments one can normally experience only at a live show.
“I thought it was a really dark and heavy concept, this mass army digging their own graves, and then sort of used that as a metaphor for the culture war and the current political climate.” – Mark Morton
It took only a month, Morton says, to turn around the record. Several tracks stand out, including the title track “Omens,” “Vanishing” and “Ditch.”
Morton says that Adler came up with the music for “Vanishing,” which Revolver called one of its favorite cuts off the new album and a “tantalizing listen.”
“Pretty much untouched,” he says. “It is a very traditional heavy metal song and not trying to be hooky or catchy with really dark kind of extended riffs.”
“Ditch” was a song that Morton brought in and for which he wrote lyrics. It’s inspired by Civil War-era trenches that Confederate soldiers dug to defend Richmond, “which, of course, eventually fell,” Morton says.
One of those trenches borders Morton’s property in a rural area outside of Richmond.
“I started thinking about the fact that those on both sides, those kids digging ditches wound up dying,” Morton says. “I thought it was a really dark and heavy concept, this mass army digging their own graves, and then sort of used that as a metaphor for the culture war and the current political climate.”
As for “Omens,” Morton says it was just one of those songs that “captured the mood of the album.”
Or, as one fan wrote in a 5-star review on Amazon, “The title track is what got me and every teaser they put out just was great, thundering drumming, killer guitar tones and riffs galore. They change it up like Pantera used to do in songs, even going melodic in points. It has something for everyone in this helping of hard-hitting metal.”
Lamb of God’s Thursday show begins at 6 p.m. at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving. Tickets are still available.